Friday, March 26, 2010


Complain all you want about David Brooks -- I certainly have often enough -- but give him credit for saying on NPR today that right now it's Republicans who are inciting violence, and that's disgraceful. A fairly obvious point, but you won't find a lot of right-wingers making it.

More of them are like Peggy Noonan, who, true to form, blames "everbody" in her current column (subscriber-only Wall Street Journal link here; full column at her site here.) Oh, she doesn't exactly dole out the blame equally; guess which sides gets most of the criticism:

... Democratic officials are right to call attention to what they believe is a growing threat. It is a truly terrible thing. But it would be deeply unhelpful for the Democrats to use this story as a mere political opportunity, as a way to undermine opposition to ObamaCare by painting opponents as dangerous and unhinged. That would only inflame the country, and in any case is not true. The truth is this sickness works both ways....

No one's saying there's never been intimidation of Republicans; the question is, what's the predominant motivation of intimidators right now -- when we have a hell of a lot more intimidation going on than usual? Do sporadic incidents in the past mean that a concentrated wave of incidents right now is okey-dokey? And how are Democrats supposed to report this -- which you say is OK, Peggy -- without being accued of politicizing the story by people like, um, you?

Noonan does say "everybody" is at fault. But she's not even doling out half the blame to Republicans and the right; after blaming Democrats as well, and blaming them more for (in her eyes) politicizing the story, she dilutes GOP blame even more by blaming ... the culture!

What I keep thinking of is a beehive. A modern, high tech, highly politicized democracy is a busy beehive, and sometimes the bees are angry, and sometimes someone comes by and sticks a big sharp stick in the hive. The biggest thing Washington should do right now is stop it, stop poking the stick.

The beehive was already angry about a million things a year ago, and most of those things, obviously, were not the fault of the administration. People are angry at their economic vulnerability. They are angry at the deterioration of our culture, angry at our nation's deteriorating position in the world, at our debts and deficits, our spending and taxing, our threatened security in a world of weapons of mass destruction.

... future trends will be to come apart, and for many reasons. To come apart because we're no longer held close and firmly by the cold glue of appreciation for a common heritage, history and culture; to come apart because we're a country that increasingly feels there are people in the cart and people pulling the cart, and the latter are increasingly overwhelmed and fearful; coming apart because we're now in at least our second generation of young, lost, unguided children with no fully functioning parent in their lives, kids being raised by a microwave and a TV set. All of these things weigh and grate.

Oh, so that's our real problem -- we lack, as the white supremacists say, "appreciation for a common heritage, history and culture." I don't actually think Noonan means that the way it sounds -- though I do think she means that we all declared our loyalty to the same Christian God as floridly and ostentatiously as she does, none of this would be happening. Maybe she means that if we liberals did that, good devout Christians wouldn't attack us in the name of Jesus. Or whatever.

And let me try to parse this:

... we're a country that increasingly feels there are people in the cart and people pulling the cart, and the latter are increasingly overwhelmed and fearful ...

Which is it, Peggy? The first part of that suggests that we feel some people give too much and others take too much -- but if you say that "the latter are increasingly overwhelmed and fearful," then clearly you think "the latter," i.e., "people pulling the cart," really exist, and really are "pulling the cart," and therefore really are being taken advantage of by parasites. (But I'm sure you're saying that in the nicest possible way.)

Oh, but it's ultimately the fault of Democrats:

And yes, this mood, this anger, has only been made worse by this yearlong, enervating, exhausting, enraging fight over health care. The administration is full of people who are so bright, and led by one who is very bright, and yet they have a signal failure: They do not know what time it is. They cannot see how high the temperature is. They cannot for the life of them understand that they raise it.

Translation: If Democrats are being attacked, Democrats were asking for it. Blame the victim.

No comments: